Does anyone have some good best practices for using the baselines? I was thinking I would use Baseline 0 for my original plan, with a copy in Baseline 1. Then each time I add tasks, I will update Baseline 0 and put a copy of the new baseline in baseline 2, 3, 4, etc.. Does this sound like a good practice or does anyone have other suggestions?
Heather, great question and you have a good basic understanding. I’ll give you the issues with that solution and what I believe is the best (but more complex) alternative. Issues include (1) you can only add tasks 11 times and then you run out of baselines, and (2) if you say you update baseline 0 by rebaselining then you reset all of those important variances from the original baseline to the actuals to date. If you baseline selected tasks and roll them up to summary tasks then this will preserve them, so that would be the correct way to “update the baseline”.
So, You are right to use baseline 0 as your “current” baseline. All of the out of box variance fields are tracked from baseline 0. A better use of the other baselines is to use them only for when you reschedule your project (at specific stage gates) or if the state of your project is at a point where the current baseline isn’t useful anymore and you are given specific agreement to rebaseline for improved future tracking. Change requests are tracked per se in baseline 0. If you need to understand more of what caused each of the changes you can use a custom field for change request number or however you need. The result could be something like:
Baseline0: current baseline, Baseline1: Planning baseline, Baseline2: Design baseline, Baseline3: Trial baseline are all standard, then baselines 4-10 are open to use at discretion of the PM. Hope that helps…
Or you can also keep baseline4 standard for special use cases and leave 5-9 for PM use.
Larry, exactly what I was looking for, thank you. So just for adding additional tasks to the project, I can safely add them to Baseline 0 and use the rest the way you said. That makes more sense and I hadn’t considered running out of baselines.
If I don’t have resources in my projects, is there any problem with copying/pasting the start and finish date into the baseline start and baseline finish date columns? That essentially is the same thing as adding them to my Baseline 0, correct?
For the question above, that would be for if I just added 1 or 2 new tasks to the schedule. If I’m doing an initial baseline, I use the “Set Baseline” method.
Well, if all you are using are tasks with no resources or resource assignments then that will give you a good start, but you also have baseline work, duration, estimated start/finish, and a few more on the list. If you just want to baseline a couple of tasks without rolling up the results to summary tasks (like an extended finish date…???) then I would suggest selecting the task(s) and baseline selected tasks (without rolling up). It’s almost as easy as copy/paste and does a lot more…just in case.
Great! Makes sense. Thanks for all of your help.